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Hardware and Software Standards

We encourage all Feinberg staff and faculty to adhere to Feinberg IT and NUIT guidelines and polices for hardware and software.

Feinberg Hardware and Software Policies


  • Switches or hub extenders are not allowed


  • Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint are our standard cloud storage services (DropBox, Box, and Google Drive should not be used to store restricted data)
  • PHI must be stored on FSMfiles or SharePoint; no other storage solution has been approved for PHI
  • Storing PHI data on non-encrypted flash drives or other portable drives is not allowed
  • Document Sharing and Data Storage Finder


  • All laptops must be encrypted
  • File Vault 2 does not encrypt the Windows partition on systems running Boot Camp; OS X users needing to run Windows are required to use the virtual machine - VMware Fusion
  • NetID credentials and passwords should never be shared for any reason
  • All laptops and computers in public or shared space must be physically secured
    • Contact Feinberg IT for available security locks

Back-up Policy

  • Data stored on FSM IT managed endpoint devices (e.g. desktop, laptop computers) will need to have CrashPlan Pro installed and configured using NU Central Desktop/Laptop Data Backup Service. Contact with any questions about how to take advantage of this service


  • Staff should leverage network printers whenever possible to lower costs in their department

Email Standards

  • Windows – Outlook
  • Apple – Outlook Web Access (

Client Management

  • All Feinberg owned desktops and laptops should be connected to the university client management system


  • Administrator privileges are not granted

Electronic Hardware Recycling

  • Feinberg IT offers guidance to acquire, track, monitor, and dispose of all IT hardware; any questions regarding lifecycle management and services should be directed to
  • All computers and IT equipment used at Feinberg must be properly off-boarded through Feinberg IT
  • Staff who want to keep their computers must fill out the Computer Ownership form
  • Computers owned by Northwestern University must have written approval before leaving the university
    • All university software must be removed

IT Hardware Standards

  • See the Purchasing section
  • IT orders including a device with a hard drive must be placed through Feinberg IT
  • Computers and IT equipment not owned by Northwestern University are not supported
  • Feinberg IT does not support dual-boot partitions; using Full Disk Encryption on a dual-boot partition increases the complexity and likelihood for errors that cause loss of data or loss of availability

Software Licenses

  • University-owned and licensed software can only be installed on university-owned computers (with the exception of those vendors’ products that are licensed under a home use policy); learn more via the following links:

Standard IM Client

  • Microsoft Teams

Production Suite

  • Office 365 (Windows and Mac)

Data Recovery

  • Drives with PHI cannot be submitted for repair unless properly erased
  • Drives where data cannot be erased due to hardware failure must be destroyed before swapped with company


  • Repairs are not performed on out-of-warranty computers or IT equipment
  • Cascading out-of-warranty hardware is prohibited


Requests for exceptions to policy will be considered and waivers from policy and standards granted only when appropriate risk management evaluation has been applied. Feinberg IT will include the following inputs:
  • Identification of why critical operational values cannot be achieved within the constraints of policy and standards
  • Risk impact of the exception or waiver has been documented
  • Alternatives that will achieve policy compliance have been reviewed in full and reasons why alternatives cannot be adopted are documented
  • Compensating controls for the exceptions have been identified and implemented
  • The exception or waiver is agreed to by Feinberg IT as well as by the Feinberg IT CISO and/or security governance team